Piercing Care

My body is wise, it knows how to heal itself 

- Louise Hay

Beach Meditation

Pre-Piercing Care

Care for your new piercing begins before you even get your piercing. The state your mind, body, and spirit can affect how much discomfort you experience while you get pierced and how well the healing goes after. 

 

It is advisable the week before your piercing to be gentle with yourself. 

 

  • Get good sleep, 8-9 hours a night. 

  • Be hydrated, drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day. 

  • Eat well, avoid high sugar foods, and get in those veggies! 

  • I have found taking a quality multivitamin for the week prior and 3 weeks post can aid in speedy healing. (Or just do this always!)

I strongly discourage getting your piercing if you are sick, recovering from surgery, hungover, or on drugs or alcohol. 

 

Also if you are pregnant, postpartum, or breastfeeding it is advisable to wait to be pierced. Please consult with me for more information.

 

If you have any autoimmune disorder, diabetes, cancer, or bleeding disorder, please consult with your piercer before your piercing to discuss potential risks so that you can make an educated decision.

Body Piercing Aftercare

Complete the following steps 2-4 times per day, more is OK if needed.

Step One: Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water. Dry hands with disposable paper product.

Step Two: Spray your piercing’s entrance and exit holes with wound wash saline solution provided to you in your "healing bag" 

Step Three: Wipe any crusty discharge away from the jewelry with non-woven gauze or a Q-tip soaked with saline

Step Four: Pat the piercing dry with non-woven gauze, or paper towel.

Once daily: Rinse your piercing with fresh water in the shower. Avoid harsh soaps. This should loosen any very hard crusty matter that forms on the jewelry. After your shower complete steps 1-4.

*Use disposable paper products, as cloth towels can harbor bacteria and snag on jewelry, causing injury. 

*If using a Q-tip to wipe away debris be sure that it is it situated in saline, as a dry Q-tip can scratch the delicate skin and well as leaving behind fibers that can irritate your piercing. 

* If you run out of saline we sell it at Zion and you can order on Amazon!

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Oral Piercing Aftercare

It is suggested to brush and floss your teeth 2-3 times a day while healing your piercing, and rinse with a diluted antimicrobial or antibacterial alcohol-free mouth rinse following the brushing. This will help to keep bad bacteria at bay.

*Be sure to do this before bed.  

*Be cautious not to bump the piercing while brushing. 

Oral piercings do tend to swell more that other types of piercings, drinking ice water can be very helpful to soothe swelling.  

Elevating your head with an extra pillow while you sleep can also help with swelling.  

 

It's very important to avoid any activity that would result in someone else’s body fluid getting into the piercing, including sharing food or beverages.

  

What is Normal

  • Initially: some bleeding, localized swelling, tenderness, or bruising.

  • During healing: some discoloration, itching, secretion of a whitish-yellow fluid (not pus) that will form some crust on the jewelry. The tissue may tighten around the jewelry as it heals.

  • Once healed: the jewelry may not move freely in the piercing; do not force it. If you fail to include cleaning your piercing as part of your daily hygiene routine, normal but smelly bodily secretions may accumulate.

  • A piercing may seem healed before the healing process is complete. This is because tissue heals from the outside in, and although it feels fine, the interior remains fragile. Be patient, and keep cleaning throughout the entire healing period.

  • Even healed piercings can shrink or close in minutes after having been there for years! This varies from person to person; if you like your piercing, keep jewelry in—do not leave it empty.

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Helpful Tips and Tricks

Clean bedding can help prevent complications.  A clean t-shirt over your pillow, changed regularly until your pillowcase is washed, is strongly encouraged for ear and facial piercings.

Travel pillows can help you avoid sleeping directly on your ear while healing an ear piercing.

Healthy bodies heal piercings best.  Zion Tattooing & Piercing encourages our clients to make every effort to live a healthy lifestyle, guided by a medical or healthcare professional.  

When to Downsize

Most piercings are started with jewelry that is a little longer or larger in diameter to accommodate for both cleaning and swelling.

Once the initial swelling has subsided, please schedule a Jewelry service appointment for a follow-up. Typically we recommend that you visit 4 to 6 weeks after your piercing.

If your piercing is slept on or otherwise irritated, it can cause a permanent distortion in the angle of the piercing. We call this distortion “drift”. Downsizing your jewelry in a timely manner can prevent drift from happening. *Jewelry fees apply.

What to Avoid

Avoid touching your piercing with unwashed hands.  Contamination of the piercing site from touching with unwashed hands can result in infection!

Do not remove your jewelry during the healing process, unless instructed to do so by a medical professional.  Even healed piercings will shrink when jewelry is removed, potentially resulting in loss of the piercing.

Avoid cleaning with alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, antibacterial soaps, iodine, or any harsh products, as these can damage cells. Also avoid ointments as they prevent necessary air circulation.

 

Avoid Bactine®, pierced ear care solutions, and other products containing Benzalkonium Chloride (BZK). These can be irritating and are not intended for long-term wound care.

 

Avoid over-cleaning. This can delay your healing and irritate your piercing.

Avoid all beauty and personal care products on or around the piercing including cosmetics, lotions, and sprays, etc.

Avoid submerging the piercing in unhygienic bodies of water such as lakes, pools, hot tubs, etc. Or, protect your piercing using a waterproof wound sealant bandage. These are available at most drugstores and work best for nipple, navel, and surface piercing placements.

 

​Do not rotate, twist, or turn jewelry while healing.  This damages your piercing channel.

 Avoid stress and recreational drug use, including excessive caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.

Avoid all oral contact, rough play, and contact with others’ bodily fluids on or near your piercing during healing.

Don’t hang charms or any object from your jewelry until the piercing is fully healed.

 

Sleeping directly on a healing cartilage piercing can cause irritation, even causing shifts in the piercing’s angle. Placing a travel pillow, on top of your pillow, and then placing your ear in the opening can be helpful to avoid this

For Particular Areas

NAVEL:
  • A hard, vented eye patch (sold at pharmacies) can be applied under tight clothing (such as nylon stockings) or secured using a length of elastic bandage around the body (to avoid irritation from adhesive). This can protect the area from restrictive clothing, excess irritation, and impact during physical activities such as contact sports.

EAR/EAR CARTILAGE AND FACIAL:
  • Use the t-shirt trick: Dress your pillow in a large, clean t-shirt and turn it nightly; one clean t-shirt provides four clean surfaces for sleeping.

  • Maintain cleanliness of telephones, headphones, eyeglasses, helmets, hats, and anything that contacts the pierced area.

  • Use caution when styling your hair and advise your stylist of a new or healing piercing.

SURFACE ANCHORS:

  •  These piercings require maintenance during their entire lifetime because matter can build up underneath the threaded top causing the piercing to become irritated. Saline and/or shower rinses may be helpful with removing matter from underneath the threaded top.

  •  Avoid putting makeup on these piercings even after healing.

  • Even with proper care, surface anchors may be less permanent than other body piercings.

NIPPLES:
  • The support of a tight cotton shirt or sports bra may provide protection and feel comfortable, especially for sleeping.

GENITAL:
  • Genital Piercings – especially Triangles, Prince Alberts, Ampallangs, and Apadravyas – can bleed freely for the first few days. Be prepared. Additional cleaning after urination is not necessary

  •  Wash your hands before touching on (or near) a healing piercing.

  •  In most cases you can engage in sexual activity as soon as you feel ready, but maintaining hygiene and avoiding trauma are vital; all sexual activities should be gentle during the healing period.

  •  Use barriers such as condoms, dental dams, and waterproof bandages, etc. to avoid contact with your partners’ body fluids, even in long-term monogamous relationships.

  •  Use clean, disposable barriers on sex toys.

  •  Use a new container of water-based lubricant; do not use saliva.

  •  After sex, an additional saline rinse is suggested.

Average Heal Times

Heal times vary greatly from person to person, season to season. This list is to give you and idea however your personal experience could be different. 

Earlobe (up to 10 gauge): 6-8 wks.

Earlobe (over 10 gauge): 2-3 mos.

Ear cartilage: 2-3 mo.

Ear construction, Industrial: 3-6 mos.

Nostril: 2-3 mo.

Lip, Monroe, Philtrum: 6-8 wks.

Tongue: 4-6 wks.

Septum: 6-8 wks.

Eyebrow: 6-8 wks.

Erl (nose bridge): 6-8 wks.

Navel: 3-6 mos.

Nape piercing (surface bar): 6-9 mos.

Surface piercing (Tygon): 8-12 mos.

Single point piercing: 3-4 mos.